ALGIERS Feb 8 The Algerian army captured four
heavily armed militants near the borders with Mali and Libya, a
security source said on Friday, underlining international
concerns that al Qaeda-linked fighters are moving across porous
Western security experts say the lawless desert expanses of
southern Algeria, Libya and northern Mali form a corridor for
smugglers and Islamist militants travelling across the region.
The French and Malian army believe many al Qaeda-linked
fighters in Mali have sought to cross the Algerian border after
four weeks of a French offensive have driven them from Mali's
A Malian and an Algerian man were arrested near
Tinzaouatine, near the border with Mali, the Algerian security
source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.
Two Libyans were also arrested in the region of In Amenas,
which is near Algeria's eastern border with Libya and home to a
big gas plant where a group of al Qaeda-linked militants took
hundreds of people hostage last month.
"We seized two Kalashnikovs, a couple of RPG-7 missiles and
some ammunition," the source said of the arrests. He said they
had taken place in recent days but declined to give further
Thirty-seven foreigners were killed at In Amenas after
Algerian troops stormed the gas complex.
The Mulathameen group, led by al Qaeda-linked Algerian
jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar, said its raid on the plant was in
response to the French-led military campaign against Islamist
rebels in northern Mali.
Pro-autonomy Tuareg rebels in Mali said they detained two
senior Islamist figures this week as they headed for the
(Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Pravin